Tomb Raider Review: Action Gaming at its finest

Tomb Raider gets a reboot, and its awesome

I have never played a Tomb Raider game before, so when I popped this reboot in I didn’t know what to expect. What I got was an incredibly intense action experience and an engaging story.

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PRESENTATION

 Graphics: This console generation is coming to a close, and as its final games are released you can see just how far the visuals have come over the years. The environments in this game are simply breathtaking, and there were several times when I just took a moment to stop and admire the scenery. The character models are some of the best I’ve seen. Lips always match the words being spoken and each characters facial animations displays a broad range of emotions.

Sound: The game’s soundtrack does a nice job of pulling you into the world with the characters and sets the tone perfectly for each situation. Whether you’re blasting through huge explosions, grieving over the loss of a friend, or celebrating a triumph, the music always matches these emotions. Other aspects of the sound design are top notch as well. The voice acting is very good (especially for Lara, who boasts some of the best voice work I’ve ever heard) and the sound effects are loud when they need to be and subtle when they need to be. In short, this game’s production values are phenomenal.

STORY

Plot: In the beginning of the game, Lara Croft is on a voyage with her friends and a reality T.V crew to uncover the ancient land of Yamatai, homeland of the supposed mythical Sun Queen. On their way their, the crew encounters a nasty storm that wrecks them on a nearby island. Turns out, this island is Yamatai, but it isn’t at all like they thought. Instead of ancient scrolls and artifacts from which to learn history, they encounter a ruthless cult led by Father Mathais. The rest of the game centers around trying to get off the island and figuring out just what this cult is all about.

Characters: This game showcases a large cast of characters, most of whom are interesting enough, but the real star is Lara. Her journey from naïve young schoolgirl to badass survivor is an incredible experience, and one of the highlights of the entire package. She is voiced incredibly well and you really empathize with her throughout the story.  When she cries, you cry, when she’s happy, you’re happy. The emotional connection you form with her carries the story and I found her to be a great example of what a person will do to survive

GAMEPLAY

Singleplayer: Like I said, Lara has to do a lot to survive. She must climb impossibly high obstacles, hunt for food, and combat enemies in her way. All of these elements are integrated seamlessly into the gameplay. The game is a fun mix of platforming, combat, and exploration. The combat is intense and offers a variety of satisfying weapons and skills, but I wish there was a little more enemy variety. The platforming is spot on and the camera is never an obstacle. Lara leaps from ledge to ledge and climbs mountains very gracefully thanks to the smooth controls. The exploration aspect comes from hunting side objectives like relics, treasures, upgrades, and of course, tomb raiding. There are six tombs in total and each offer a unique puzzle. These are fun distractions but there isn’t much incentive to do them as the rewards gained from these aren’t very useful. This game also boasts some of the most adrenaline pumping setpieces ever seen in a video game. These play out in incredibly cinematic ways and look like cutscenes but there not… they are  fully interactive and a of fun. You’ll climb a huge radio tower atop snowy mountain peaks, parachute through a forest while avoiding trees, dash through burning buildings, shoot enemies while upside down, and barrel down a river while dodging obstacles. The only complaint I have about the gameplay is the overuse of quick time events. They are very frequent in the beginning but eventually slow down and become more interesting, but they are overused a bit.

Multiplayer: Unfortunately, the multiplayer can’t live up to the high standards of the rest of the game. It is very shallow and lacks innovation. Sure it’s fun to use a bow online and zipline across the map, but the novelty of these tricks wear off quickly, and you realize that nothing in this game hasn’t been done or done better before. None of the modes were all that exciting and the customization is very superficial. It also doesn’t seem to control as well as the singleplayer experience did, but that could just be me.

THE VERDICT

Despite the unimaginative multiplayer offerings, the singleplayer of this game is an amazing experience that offers great production values, plenty of huge and memorable setpieces, and an emotional storyline. This is one of the best action games ever made and earns an honored spot among such games as Gears of War and Batman Arkham City. If you are on the fence about this game, go out and get it. You won’t regret it.

 

 

 

9
Tomb Raider Review: Action Gaming at its finest
Tomb Raider gets a reboot, and its awesome

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Author
Dillon Chaney
Here to break the sterotype that jocks can't be nerds. I'm 15 and I love gaming. Gaming has helped me in many ways throughout my life, most notably when my father died. I love to write reviews so you guys can know whether or not to spend all your hard earned money on that brand new game or not. My favorite games are Deus ex, battlefield 4, the witcher 2, Assassin's Creed 2, and anything bioware (mass effect, Kotor, Dragon Age)